The Return of my Beautiful Barn Swallows

They Have Arrived....April 6, 2011

We had just returned home from the thriving metropolis of Independence, Kansas, to our country farm. I opened the front door and entered, arms laden with many purchases from town. No sooner had I put everything down when I heard my friend's voice calling to me. I went into "alert," thinking something dire had just happened. I ran to the front door, threw it wide open and ran to the porch. There stood Al, with a big smile on his face.

"The swallows are here." I didn't hear him.

What did you say?" I asked.

He pointed to the sky. I immediately saw them! In beautiful, stealth and rapid flight. The beloved Barn Swallows.

They dipped and darted across the sky.  Delicate yet strong, these tiny beings soar through the air.   Almost immediately, the two headed for the Southeast corner of our front porch where their homes awaited; covered with protective roof and untouched by anything which might have harmed the strongly constructed aeries.

We have witnessed their arrival for 5 years now. I always await their return. Anticipation begins to build as the warmer days emerge; expecting to see the quick, agile flight of these gorgeous creatures.

He looked back at me and I felt the warm sting of tears which had spontaneously started to flow. I was so very happy to see them again that emotion overtook me. I am so in love with the Swallows.

There are two nests on the front porch of the main house and two nests which rest under the Southern eave of the cabin. We have left these intact on purpose so that our beautiful birds will have no rebulding to do; no new structures to complete before they can begin their new nesting.

Each year, my favorite couple takes up residence in the front porch nests. I say 'nests' because, one year, they had such difficulty with Black Snakes attacking the original nest that they built a new one nearby but further out so that the snakes would have more difficulty reaching it. We never disturb the nests; always watch out that they are not harmed by other birds or weather and wait for their rightful inhabitants' return.

We watched as this particular couple chatted away as they flew around this familiar home. I have become so familiar with their musical communication. They seem to be so much more vocal than the other Swallows who return to our farm. Why they come this far is a mystery to me but one which brightens my days and gives me joy.

There have been 4 successful years of rearing young Swallows. Last season, the couple actually produced three hatchings of offspring. And each had 6 babies! What fun it is to watch as the parents work overtime feeding the youngsters. Before long, tiny heads appear and, more quickly than one can imagine, the young birds are ready to take flight.

So, here again, this year, my Swallows have come home. They trust us. They've grown to know us and that we will not harm them. The adults have actually seen us fighting off Black Snakes as they approach the side of the house in search of young chicks. We've been very successful at capturing several snakes, placing them in containers for removal to safe but far places.

I have never, nor will I ever, seek to learn the lifespan of these fantastic birds. I mourn the day when the two will not return; and I worry each year that it may be the year. But, so far, my favorite duo has come to nest again. And I will watch out for their safety and wellbeing.

I'll miss these elegant flyers when I leave this place. This year may be the last time I see my Barn Swallows. It makes my throat tighten and sadness begins when I consider this. God Bless my beautiful Barn Swallows.

I so love the beautiful Barn Swallows!

BARN SWALLOWS

Last  year's first nestlings
Last year's first nestlings | Source
Mother and Father watch over their young
Mother and Father watch over their young
The parents take turns feeding their young.  Here  you'll see one in flight and the other on the front porch swing link chain
The parents take turns feeding their young. Here you'll see one in flight and the other on the front porch swing link chain | Source

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Comments 22 comments

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

How wondrous it is to watch a mated pair like you two have return to the same nest along with all the others. Lucky Cats you've also shown a deep respect for all creatures by not killing the Black snakes like most people would probably do. This is the first i've read this morning and fortunate it is for the spirit is lifted. Thank you so much for sharing this.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you, Alastar. This annual returning of the Swallows is always such a sweet surprise! I never really appreciated the excitement over the Swallows returning to Capistrano until I moved here and learned of their beauty. Thank you!


JY3502 profile image

JY3502 5 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

Beautiful story Lucky! Voted up.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you! JY!


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

Awesome! Swallows are beautiful to watch, especially the feeding of the young birds. Thank you for sharing.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you, AA Zavala. Yes, they are. I can sit and watch them for hours in the evening hours at dusk.


Teylina 5 years ago

Oh, Alastar, what a lovely thing to look forward to every year. Thank you for sharing it and especially the photos! It's awesome to see personalities in singles/couples in species other than human, isn't it?


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Lucky,

Your excitement for these beautiful creatures is so evident in your writing. Thank you for sharing.

Sharyn


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a lovely story. I too commend you for not killing the snakes and taking the trouble to transport them to new places. It’s wonderful that you’ve been able to see the same barn swallows for five years. I hope that they have a successful breeding season this year.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

A story written with love. Beautiful.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you! Kallini, Alicia,Sharyn and Teylina. This is a very special time for me. Spring, the beauty all around and life spring to life! And the beautiful Barn Swallows! They are magnificant. We'll be taking extra special steps to ensure their safety. They have already been flying up to their nests and within mere feet of where we sit on the porch swings. I know they remember us and that we care for them.


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

What a beautiful story Lucky Cats, the swallows are so incredible and no matter what some people say, I know they remember the kind souls that await their return each year to love and appreciate their mere presence. Enjoy this time! I love birds, their freedom to fly and break free or perhaps, like the swallows, they are on a mission to keep the species alive and well for generations to come.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Cath! Yes, these wonderful birds DO remember us and are already flying around their nests and chatting up a storm. They stay around while we mow the lawn and sit right under their nests in our porch swings. They are lithe and agile and so sweet. I never really appreciated the lore of the "return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano" until I moved here to SE Kansas 4 years ago. Now, I understand. Thank you for your comment and really great 'take' on this !! Kathy


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

A beautiful, heartfelt story, Lucky Cats. I understand your emotional response to the highly anticipated return of "family". BTW, you look just like Julianne Moore, well, she's not quite as beautiful, because I know no one with the depth of love for all critters that gives you an advantage over any fashion model, Kathy!


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Amy, you're a sweetheart for your kind comments..I truly appreciate! Too kind, though...I am so burned out right now, I look like the walking dead. But, I will ALWAYS have time and energy and love in my heart for the beautiful Barn Swallows, my beloved kitties, sweet dogs and dear friends...close and far...otherwise, what's the point, huh? You are my sister, too, Amy..in heart, spirit, strength, wisdom and more.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I bet you are tired, Kathy. Your energy is astounding. You made me so happy in calling me "sister" as I feel the same way and am so glad I met you here. Take care of yourself and I look forward to seeing you here whenever you have the energy and time to visit.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

What a sweet story! We too look forward to the return of birds that have graced our house and garden in previous years. The hummingbirds seem to remember me as they hover just a few feet away from my morning coffee, and the blue birds add a bright touch to the mimosa tree. Luckily, my cat is only interested in watching their antics...


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Amy, yes...sisters!

Stephanie..I am pleased to tell you that my many cats do not bother the Swallows while we all sit on the front porch watching the sun set. could it be that I feed them too much???

Thank you both for your wonderful comments. Love, Kathy aka Lucky Cats


annmackiemiller profile image

annmackiemiller 5 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

another wonderful hub - voted up and stuff


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you Annemackiemiller! i love your "voted up and stuff." So happy that you like my writing efforts. Thank you for visiting and commenting...it means much to me. Kathy


Wealthmadehealthy profile image

Wealthmadehealthy 5 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

I agree with all the comments above. You have been blessed to watch this event several times, and as I have just recently been exposed to the nesting habits and hatchlings, I too am awed by this writing. Too beautiful for words. Thank you so much for sharing....Have a blessed day!


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you Wealthmadehealthy! what wondrous creatures they are...we are so fortunate to have this beautiful repeat performance every year.

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